My roomie and I found out one day, that at 8 years old, our landlady's son still had to wear a diaper to sleep. That's because our landlady could not wake him up when he was already deep in his sleep and thus, had to wear a diaper to sleep to prevent accidents on the bed!
John had a weird taste-bud. Throughout my 5 years living in that house, I had only seen my landlady cooked two or maybe three types of dishes for her son. He only liked to eat eggs and spam meat. On most days, she would steam two slices of China-made pork spam meat for her son. On spam meat off days, she would fry an egg for John. Other days, she would make a quick-boil mint leaves soup with egg drops. Occasionally, there was a stir-fried spinach. I hardly ever remember seeing her cook chicken or fish. Never beef or pork. I had also never seen John eating any fruits throughout my 5-year stay in the house. While John ate his dinner, he would be glued to the idiot box. John never used any cutlery to eat. He only ate with his bare hands. On festive occasions like Mooncake festival, my landlady would braise a big pot of mushrooms. She would offer some mushrooms to me. That was considered a real big treat from my stingy landlady ok!
When I told my landlady that I wanted to cook and boil water using her gas stove, she imposed a fee. She asked me to share half the cost of the gas every month! Fine, I paid for it, though I only cooked instant noodles, fried eggs, boiled water and occasionally stir-fried some vegetables. I never cooked any meat. One day when I told her that I was buying a mini TV to be placed in my room, she increased my rental by RM10 (or was it RM20?) a month. That was 23 years ago. For every electrical item purchased, an additional rental fee would be imposed. I even had to pay a small fee to rent her fridge to store my fruits.
There was another housemate (my college mate) who rented the smallest room on the ground floor of the house. That was meant to be a storeroom but my money-minded landlady transformed it into a room to rent out. This housemate by the name of Soo Chin (from Johor) loved to cook and eat. Before she left for college in the morning, she would discreetly throw in some red beans or mung beans into a mini slowcooker and left it cooking in her room. By 10pm when our evil landlady went up to sleep in her room, it was PARTY time for us muahahaha! Oh how sweet and tasty was the red bean tong sui, which we quietly savored in the stuffy small room!! On some days, Soo Chin would cook Maggie Mee using her slow cooker and invited us to eat in her room after the evil landlady had gone to her room. Instant noodles had never tasted so yummy when cooked in a slow-cooker and shared among 3 daring young college-going girls living on a shoe-string budget, who knew that if caught, we would have to face the music. Pay or pack our bags and leave, knowing how evil she can get. But my sixth sense told me that she somehow knew about our clandestine rendezvous every night but she kept mum. So she wasn't that evil after all!
to be continued....